Week 4: Mystical Litter

Homing heartaches

I’ve thought long and hard about whether to write about this, but I do try to give an honest account on this website and am often praised for the way I write, so here goes…

border collie puppies
Busy being brilliant

Homing puppies is the hardest part of breeding, by a mile! I’ve already said that this time I have been fortunate to have had people come back to me for a second time. That’s great, but even so, they still have to be checked as being a suitable home.

What can go wrong

First of all, when the litter arrived, I didn’t have the right number of boys and girls. So someone had to go elsewhere and I had to get in touch with people on my waiting list.

Then when I properly looked at the people I did have, one was not suitable, because she was a childminder, with a house full of various children (not used to dogs!)

border collie puppies

Next, I had agreed to let someone have a puppy, who had a dog from Sunny’s second litter. A lot can happen in 9 years! Unfortunately, when they came to visit, I could see that the children were too young and did not know about dogs (they lost their last one over a year ago). I felt that the adults did not have enough time to train and manage the dog alongside the children and a busy working life.

border collie puppies

Finally, to make life more complicated, I discovered that my beautiful, longed-for stud dog was no longer going to be able to go to stud. A series of unfortunate events and circumstances had conspired to make this no longer possible. He was jointly owned with someone else and lived nearby, but I realised he could no longer be half-owned by me. I was going to have to keep a boy myself!

Nothing is guaranteed

One of the disappointed people asked if I could commit to giving her what she wanted from the next litter. I couldn’t do that, because nothing is guaranteed. So many things can go wrong! This is what I say to potential owners:

  • Bitch may not be pregnant (has happened a few times to me)
  • They may not survive (has happened – litter 8)
  • She may only have a few puppies (sometimes there is only one or two)
  • She may have all one sex (I have had this)
  • She may not have a colour you would like (most people are not that fussy)
  • You may not like the puppies (unlikely, but it does happen)
  • I may decide you are not the best home for a puppy, or for the one you prefer (see above)
border collie puppies

It’s a tough old game and not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had one pup come back to me at 13 months for being snappy with children. He’s now been assessed as a therapy dog, as he is in the right home. Such a lovely dog! So it’s made me even more circumspect about which puppy goes to which home. I have had pups from most of my litters go to:

  • first time dog owners
  • people with children of all ages, including a toddler
  • people who work full time
  • people with other dogs
  • people with cats

So I am not unreasonable, or particularly difficult to please. But if I think there might be a danger of a dog biting someone, I am not going to send that dog to that home. I’d be pretty irresponsible if I did, wouldn’t I?

Happy endings

Happily for me, I get plenty of absolutely lovely people wanting a puppy. People who have done their research, looked into what they want and ask all the right questions. Those people will be delighted with their puppy and welcome it into their family. That’s such a joy to me. They understand how to contact a breeder and that it might be necessary to wait for the right litter.

border collie puppies
so pleased to meet you, mum

Puppies growing away

Despite all my angst, the puppies continued to be an absolute joy. I made their run bigger this week, but we carried on enjoying watching them alongside the TV in the evenings.

border collie puppies

They can hear now and are getting much more active. I would love them to be outside but it’s still been mainly cold and wet.


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5 thoughts on “Week 4: Mystical Litter”

  1. Hi Penny
    Love what you have written, very honest and heart felt. It is fabulous to know there are still exceptional breeders like yourself.

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